We Tested 32 Setting Powders—These 14 Are Worth Buying

Our top choice is the LYS Beauty Triple Fix Setting Powder

We independently research, test, review, and recommend the best products—learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

Setting Powders Test

Byrdie / Tamara Staples

Whether you have a particularly oily complexion, are battling humidity, or simply want your foundation and concealer to last more than a couple of hours, setting powder is where it's at. As the name suggests, this makeup product sets your creams and liquids, preventing them from creasing and helping them stay put all day (or night).

Byrdie Tested & Approved

Our favorite setting powder overall is LYS Beauty's highly absorbent, easy-to-blend, skin-perfecting Triple Fix Setting Powder. However, if you're on a budget, Wet n Wild's mattifying Photo Focus Loose Setting Powder might be your best bet.

"I recommend a finely milled powder that won't settle into lines," says MUA Jamie Dorman. To help you narrow down your options, we tested nearly three dozen setting powders in The Lab, evaluating each formula for its absorbency, look, feel, wear, and shade range. LYS Beauty's lightweight, breathable, photo-perfect Triple Fix Powder was the winner, but we found several formulas worth considering.

These are the best setting powders tested by Byrdie.

Best Overall: Lys Beauty Triple Fix Pressed Setting Powder

5
LYS Beauty Triple Fix Setting Powder

Sephora

What We Like
  • Eliminates shine

  • Blends effortlessly

  • Doesn't feel dry or tight

What We Don’t Like
  • Nothing

LYS Beauty Triple Fix clocked perfect scores all around in our lab tests. Our tester, who has combination skin with dry cheeks and an oily T-zone, tried the translucent shade. She said that it immediately eliminated shininess without making her face appear overly dry. Her skin didn't feel tight either. She was surprised to report that this pressed powder is also slightly moisturizing, likely due to the hyaluronic acid, a go-to skincare ingredient that famously holds more than 1,000 times its weight in water.

The mattifying finish was natural-looking with a subtle glow. It blended effortlessly with our tester's natural skin tone without any remaining residue or white cast in sight. This setting powder even smoothed out her pores and corrected for redness around her nostrils.

No matter how much she applied, our tester said the lightweight and breathable formula "went on like a second skin." What's more, it set her makeup with a photo-perfect finish and held up in the hot sun. Considering the accessible price point, there's nothing we don't like about this product.

Type: Pressed | Shades: 6 | Finish: Matte/natural | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes

What Our Testers Say

"No matter how much I applied, it was very lightweight and breathable. The texture felt like the softest feather against my skin." Danielle Ransom, Product Tester

Best Budget: Wet n Wild Photo Focus Loose Setting Powder

5
Wet n Wild Photo Focus Loose Setting Powder

Amazon

What We Like
  • Affordable

  • Excellent absorbency

  • Mattifying effect

What We Don’t Like
  • Slightly messy

On a budget? Wet n Wild makes a great setting powder. Our tester said this wallet-friendly formula did wonders in soaking up oil on her skin. Not only that, but it smoothed out her complexion and delivered a natural-looking, mattified effect.

The universal translucent shade blended well into her fair skin without appearing chalky or patchy. Since it's a loose powder, the only thing to note is that the application can get slightly messy.

Type: Loose | Shades: Translucent | Finish: Natural/matte | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Wet n Wild Photo Focus Loose Setting Powder

Byrdie / Tamara Staples

Best Drugstore: L'Oréal Infallible Pro Sweep & Lock Loose Powder

4.6
L'Oréal Infallible Pro Sweep & Lock Loose Powder

Amazon

What We Like
  • Affordable

  • Excellent absorbency

  • Not chalky or cakey

What We Don’t Like
  • Hard to remove sticker

  • May need retouching

L'Oréal Pro Sweep & Lock is a solid choice in the drugstore category. This universal translucent powder didn't appear chalky on our tester's medium-dark complexion, leaving her with nothing more than a smoother version of her natural skin tone.

The finely milled formula delivers a soft mattifying finish without feeling overly dry or appearing cakey. While you might need to retouch after a few hours, our tester loved how it helped set her makeup, made her pores less visible, and evened out her skin texture. The only other thing to note is that the sticker was really hard to remove upon first opening the container.

Type: Loose | Shades: Translucent | Finish: Soft matte | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: No

L'Oréal Infallible Pro Sweep & Lock Loose Powder

Byrdie / Leticia Almeida

What Our Testers Say

"I was pleasantly surprised by how it looked on my medium-dark skin. I expected to look ashy once I put it on, but instead, my skin still looks full of color without being oily or dry."—Kiara Timo, Product Tester

Best Splurge: CHANEL POUDRE UNIVERSELLE LIBRE Natural Finish Loose Powder

5
Chanel Poudre Universelle Libre Natural Finish Loose Powder

Ulta

What We Like
  • Included applicator

  • Not heavy or cakey

  • Extends makeup wear

What We Don’t Like
  • Expensive

  • Contains fragrance

If you can swing the steep price, your complexion will thank you for investing in Chanel's Poudre Universelle Libre. This setting powder earned perfect scores in all categories, absorbing oil effortlessly and tackling excess shine.

After trying shade 30 (medium with neutral undertones), our tester said that it blended beautifully into her skin without feeling heavy or cakey. And at the end of the day, her makeup was "still very much intact." She also liked the included applicator, which makes it easy to press the loose powder onto oilier areas.

Type: Loose | Shades: 8 | Finish: Natural/semi-matte | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: No

Chanel Poudre Universelle Libre Natural Finish Loose Powder

Byrdie / Leticia Almeida

What Our Testers Say

"It was easy to blend everything into the skin, and the container has a little filter, which helps to not use excess powder."—Gibreel Martinez, Product Tester

Best Shade Range: Fenty Beauty Pro Filt'r Instant Retouch Setting Powder

5
Fenty Beauty Pro Filt'r Instant Retouch Setting Powder

Sephora

What We Like
  • Excellent absorbency

  • Not heavy or cakey

  • Good for baking

What We Don’t Like
  • Contains fragrance

In terms of shade options, Fenty Pro Filt'r is a clear winner. With a diverse range of skin tones in mind, this loose setting powder comes in eight hues ranging from Coffee (very deep) to Butter (light with warm undertones) to universal translucent.

Our tester tried Butter on her oily/combination skin, and it did a fantastic job absorbing grease without feeling heavy or cakey. She liked the mattifying effect and said that it offers a natural finish when used for setting and baking makeup.

Type: Loose | Shades: 8 | Finish: Matte/natural | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Fenty Beauty Pro Filt'r Instant Retouch Setting Powder

Byrdie / Leticia Almeida

What Our Testers Say

"Even after baking my face with the powder, it doesn't look caked-on and provides a great natural look."—Jessica Lee, Product Tester

Best with SPF: Supergoop! (Re)setting 100% Mineral Powder Sunscreen SPF 35 PA+++

4.3
(Re)setting 100% Mineral Powder Sunscreen SPF 35 PA+++

Amazon

What We Like
  • Excellent absorbency

  • Controls shine

  • Good for touch-ups

What We Don’t Like
  • Finicky container

This sunscreen-infused setting powder makes it easy to reapply SPF throughout the day, even when you're rocking full glam. Our tester was pleasantly surprised by how well it absorbs oil and controls shine, noting that a little goes a long way.

She said that her skin and makeup looked visibly better under a light dusting of this powder, and she appreciated the additional SPF 35 sun protection. Though getting the product out of the container can be tricky, the built-in brush is convenient for touch-ups and on-the-go use.

Type: Loose/brush-on | Shades: 4 | Finish: Matte | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Supergoop! (Re)setting 100% Mineral Powder SPF 35

Byrdie / Leticia Almeida

Best Texture: Pat McGrath Labs Sublime Perfection Setting Powder

5
What We Like
  • Excellent absorbency

  • Blends effortlessly

  • Not too heavy or light

What We Don’t Like
  • Pricey

After trying shade 4 (medium deep), our tester said that Pat McGrath's Sublime Perfection blended effortlessly into her natural skin tone. It immediately soaked up excess oil and left her face smooth without a caked-on feeling.

Not too heavy or light, with a stunning radiant finish, this virtually flawless setting powder lives up to its name. In the end, we only wish the price were a little more accessible.

Type: Loose | Shades: 5 | Finish: Radiant | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: No

Pat McGrath Labs Sublime Perfection Setting Powder

Byrdie / Leticia Almeida

What Our Testers Say

"I absolutely love this powder. It blended so well with my skin, and it feels amazing. It is not too light or heavy." —Jaryee "Jay" Cooper, Product Tester

Best Matte Finish: Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish Setting Powder

4
Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish Setting Powder

Sephora

What We Like
  • Controls oil

  • Eliminates shine

  • Natural-looking results

What We Don’t Like
  • May need retouching

  • Contains paraben

For a mattifying effect, reach for this pressed powder compact from Charlotte Tilbury. Our fair-skinned tester tried shade 1 and said that just a light dusting absorbed oil well and eliminated shine.

The ultra-fine powder blends well into a translucent finish, even when applied over cream blush. Our tester was left with natural-looking results that helped her makeup stay put. Having said that, you might need to touch it up every few hours if you're spending time outside in a particularly humid climate.

Type: Pressed | Shades: 4 | Finish: Matte | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish Setting Powder

Byrdie / Leticia Almeida

Best Radiant Finish: Rare Beauty Always an Optimist Soft Radiance Setting Powder

5
Rare Beauty Always an Optimist Soft Radiance Setting Powder

Sephora

What We Like
  • Blends effortlessly

  • Seamless results

  • Controls shine

What We Don’t Like
  • Slightly cakey application

Rare Beauty's Always an Optimist Powder was also a hit in The Lab. Our tester tried the lightest shade, a soft pink designed for fair complexions. She was worried that it would look too pink, but it blended beautifully into a truly translucent finish.

The application was slightly cakey, but once she dusted off all the powder, our tester said that the final look was seamless. Her skin was smooth and shine-free with a subtle hint of radiance.

Type: Loose | Shades: 5 | Finish: Radiant | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Rare Beauty Always an Optimist Soft Radiance Setting Powder

Byrdie / Leticia Almeida

Best for Oily Skin: Hourglass Cosmetics Veil Translucent Setting Powder

5
Hourglass Veil Translucent Setting Powder

Sephora

What We Like
  • Controls shine

  • Long-lasting

  • Lightweight feel

What We Don’t Like
  • Pricey

For oily complexions, we recommend Hourglass Veil. This translucent setting powder instantly absorbs excess grease, eliminates unwanted shine, and even blurs the appearance of pores.

Our tester said that it feels super-light on the skin and sets makeup beautifully without caking up or creasing under the eyes. Not only that, but the long-lasting results hold up all day. While we wish it were a little more affordable, this loose powder might be worth the investment.

Type: Loose | Shades: Translucent | Finish: Natural | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Hourglass Veil Translucent Setting Powder

Byrdie / Leticia Almeida

Best for Touch-Ups: BLK/OPL True Color Soft Velvet Finishing Powder

5
Black Opal Soft Velvet Finishing Powder

Amazon

What We Like
  • Excellent absorbency

  • Controls shine

  • Lightweight and breathable

What We Don’t Like
  • Slightly messy

If you need something for touch-ups, Black Opal's Soft Velvet Finishing Powder might be your best bet. After trying the Neutral Light shade, our tester said that it does an excellent job absorbing oil and covering shiny spots. Thanks to the brand's Shade IQ technology, the multi-colored pigments blended effortlessly with her natural skin tone and left her with a mattified complexion and a soft focus, airbrushed effect. The jet-milled formula also felt lightweight and breathable on top of your foundation.

Type: Loose | Shades: 4 | Finish: Soft matte | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Black Opal Soft Velvet Finishing Powder

Byrdie / Leticia Almeida

What Our Testers Say

"This powder is wonderful for covering up any shiny spots. It sits on my skin pretty lightly and doesn't feel heavy at all."—Amber McCleese, Product Tester

Best for Under-Eyes: Saie Airest Radiant Loose Setting Powder

4.5
Saie Airset Radiant Loose Setting Powder

Sephora

What We Like
  • Controls shine

  • Smooth, cake-free results

  • Lightweight feel

What We Don’t Like
  • Finicky container

  • May need retouching

Saie Airset is perfect for setting the under-eye area. Our tester tried the translucent shade and said that it delivered a smooth, invisible finish without any caking or creasing.

This loose setting powder was a little tricky to get out of the container, but we love how it instantly absorbs oil and keeps makeup in check. Our tester said that she was shiny again after about five hours on a humid day, but it still did the trick and felt comfortably lightweight over concealer and foundation.

Type: Loose | Shades: 3 | Finish: Radiant | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Saie Airset Radiant Loose Setting Powder

Byrdie / Leticia Almeida

Best Multi-Use: Beauty Bakerie Face Flour Baking Powder

5
Beauty Bakerie Face Flour Baking Powder

Ulta

What We Like
  • Excellent absorbency

  • Extends makeup wear

  • Good for baking

What We Don’t Like
  • Slightly messy

Beauty Bakerie's Face Flour earned perfect scores in all categories. After trying the light brown Almond shade, our tester said that it absorbed quickly into her skin, eliminated shine, and blended well with her natural skin tone.

In addition to setting makeup and controlling shine, this multi-use loose powder is clutch for face-baking. You can count on smooth, crease-free results with a soft-matte blurring effect that won't flashback in photos.

Type: Loose | Shades: 6 | Finish: Soft matte | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Beauty Bakerie Face Flour Baking Powder

Byrdie / Leticia Almeida

Best Value: Juvia's Place I Am Magic Loose Setting Powder

4.8
Juvia's Place I Am Magic Loose Setting Powder

Ulta

What We Like
  • Reasonably priced

  • Excellent absorbency

  • Lightweight and breathable

What We Don’t Like
  • Can get cakey

  • Minor white cast

  • Slightly messy

This setting powder from Juvia's Place is very reasonably priced, especially considering how well it works. Our tester used the lightest White Sands shade. She loved the lightweight and breathable feel, mattifying effect, and natural-looking finish.

The loose powder did impressive work absorbing oil, leaving not even the slightest glimmer of shine on our tester's oily T-zone. Though there was a slight white cast at first, it blended out with minimal effort. Other than that, you'll want to start with just a light dusting to prevent it from getting cakey.

Type: Loose | Shades: 3 | Finish: Natural/matte | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Juvia's Place I Am Magic Loose Setting Powder

Byrdie / Leticia Almeida

Key Features

"The powder dried into a smooth, slightly matte finish. There wasn't even the slightest glimmer of shine in my oily T-zone."Danielle Ransom, Product Tester

Final Verdict

Our favorite setting powder, overall, is LYS Beauty's highly absorbent, easy-to-blend, skin-perfecting Triple Fix Setting Powder. However, if you're on a budget, Wet n Wild's mattifying Photo Focus Loose Setting Powder might be your best bet. And if you're willing to spend a little more on a high-quality formula, you can't go wrong with Chanel Poudre Universelle Libre.

Setting powders test

Byrdie / Leticia Almeida

How We Tested

Byrdie editors took their time researching today's best setting powders, taking expert recommendations and user reviews into account before narrowing the list down to 35 to try out first-hand. The container, pigment, consistency, and price of each product were carefully assessed by our testers, who then applied the powders over various creams and liquids.

After several hours, they were rated from 1 to 5 for oil absorbency, look and feel, wear, and shade range. The setting powders with the highest overall ratings were ultimately selected for this roundup. All tests were performed in The Lab, our Manhattan product-testing facility.

Other Options We Tested

Tatcha The Silk Powder 

This loose setting powder doesn't waste time soaking up grease and controlling shine. However, it was almost too absorbent in that it made our tester's skin feel dry. Unfortunately, the translucent finish looked a bit chalky and didn't blend as well as we had hoped.

Tatcha The Silk Powder

Byrdie / Tamara Staples

Kylie Cosmetics Setting Powder 

We appreciate the reasonable price point of this powder and were impressed by how well it absorbed oil. While the initial chalkiness blended into a smooth, airbrushed finish, it left our tester's skin feeling uncomfortably dry.

Kylie Cosmetics Setting Powder

Byrdie / Tamara Staples

Kosas Cloud Set Setting & Smoothing Powder 

Kosas Cloud Set does a good job absorbing excess grease. Our tester liked that it left her with a slightly dewy finish while still controlling shine. However, the pressed format makes it somewhat hard to pick up the powder with a brush, and after dusting it on, it felt a little tight on the skin.

Kosas Cloud Set Setting & Smoothing Powder

Byrdie / Tamara Staples

Meet the Expert

What to Look for When Buying Setting Powder

Ingredients

When shopping around for a setting powder, be sure to check the ingredients list. Rice starch, cornstarch, silica, and talc often account for the bulk of the product, as they're highly absorbent and generally non-irritating on most skin types. Bear in mind that talc can be hit or miss with oily skin, so you might want to steer clear to avoid caking and creasing. Many formulas also contain various minerals like zinc, calcium silicate, and iron oxide, which can offer complexion-enhancing benefits.

Finish

You'll want to consider the finish as well. Like foundation and concealer, setting powders offer various finishes, including matte, radiant, natural, and even dewy. If you have particularly oily skin and are looking to control shine, look for something that delivers a mattifying effect. Other than that, it's mostly a matter of preference.

Pressed vs. Loose

There are two main types of setting powder: pressed and loose. Pressed powders typically come in convenient mirrored compacts, making them travel-friendly and easy to stash in a purse or makeup bag. Dorman recommends finely milled loose powders, as they're less likely to settle into fine lines. Just keep in mind that loose powders tend to be a little messier than their pressed counterparts.

FAQ
  • What does setting powder do?

    As the name suggests, setting powder sets your makeup in place. The invisible layer preserves the finish and helps your creams and powders last longer. Beyond that, setting powders absorb excess oil, control shine, and leave you with a smoother, airbrushed-looking finish.

  • How do you apply setting powder?

    You can dust setting powder all over your face with a fluffy brush for a mattifying effect or apply it only to designated areas. Looking to absorb grease and minimize shine? "I recommend using a damp beauty blender to dip into the powder and press into the oily areas," says MUA Shay Zeinali. You can dust off any excess powder with a large brush and buff it out with a flat brush or makeup sponge if it needs additional blending.

  • What setting powder is best for my skin type?

    If you have oily skin, you'll want to look for a highly absorbent, talc-free setting powder that keeps shine at bay. Those with combination skin types can use a similar formula, though they may only want to apply the powder to shinier areas. As Zeinali notes, "People are normally the oiliest in their T-zone."

    If your skin is on the drier side, or you prefer a dewy finish, opt for a setting powder with hydrating ingredients, like hyaluronic acid. It sounds like an oxymoron, but a powder can be both absorbent and moisturizing at the same time.

What Is Byrdie Verified?

Did you notice the Byrdie Verified seal of approval at the top of this story? This seal means that our team has researched and tested every product on this list using a unique methodology that’s designed to focus on what our readers want to know—and to deliver insights that you can’t find anywhere else. Occasionally, beauty brands and PR agencies will send us samples for coverage consideration, but our thoughts and opinions are fully our own. If you visit links within our content, we may receive commissions from your purchases, but we never receive any compensation or consideration for the content of our recommendations. In short, the Byrdie Verified seal stands for product recommendations you can trust.

Why Trust Byrdie

Theresa Holland is a seasoned commerce writer and product tester specializing in cosmetics. She is keenly familiar with most brands on this list and has personally tried powders from LYS Beauty, Charlotte Tilbury, Wet n Wild, L'Oréal, Supergoop!, Hourglass, and Kosas. Since 2020, Theresa has been a regular contributor at Byrdie, where she covers makeup, haircare, skincare, and beauty tools.

Article Sources
Byrdie takes every opportunity to use high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy.
  1. Salwowska NM, Bebenek KA, Żądło DA, Wcisło-Dziadecka DL. Physiochemical properties and application of hyaluronic acid: a systematic review. J Cosmet Dermatol. 2016 Dec;15(4):520-526. doi: 10.1111/jocd.12237. Epub 2016 Jun 21. PMID: 27324942.

  2. Freers SO. Absorbent Starch Delivery Systems. Delivery System Handbook for Personal Care and Cosmetic Products. Published 2005. 35.4.2

  3. Herndon J, et al. (2008) Mineral powder foundation provides benefits to sensitive skin patients. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaad.2007.10.320

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